Updated: Apr 17
Sunday 9th April 2023 - BPL Div 2
Futera United made it three wins from three games to continue their 100% start to life in Division 2 with a somewhat labored victory over SPA Srongpol FC, who included former striker Steffan amongst their ranks. With our two Africans still missing and the dreaded COVID making an unwelcome return, Futera were down to the bare bones against a very physical Srongpol side who seemed hell-bent on kicking their way to victory.
Futera made a bright start, dominating possession and forcing a succession of corners, with Bank on the left flank a constant threat with his direct running and Aek on the opposite side always looking to cut inside onto his favored left foot. Despite being in total control, it took until the 21st minute for Futera to take the lead. A strong headed clearance from skipper M was flicked on by Gael and Phu raced past a hesitant Srongpol defense to unleash an unstoppable left-foot strike that flew into the roof of the net. Minutes later, after a neat interchange of passes with Phu, Gael raced through on goal, and his clever lob over the advancing Srongpol keeper went inches wide. With halftime approaching, Futera extended their lead when Aek sprayed an inch-perfect cross-field ball into the path of the impressive Bank who crossed low for Gael to tap into an empty net, making the score 2-0 at halftime.
The second half began with Srongpol more aggressive, committing some dubious challenges, with former striker Steffan the main culprit. The game descended into a scrappy affair, littered with fouls, and Futera were unable to play their passing game. In the 62nd minute, Srongpol, who had failed to muster a single attempt on goal, were given a lifeline. A free-kick from the right-hand flank was played high into the box, and our young keeper Pond spilled the catch, and it fell invitingly into the path of the Srongpol striker who gleefully dispatched the ball into the net, making the score 2-1. The introduction of the experienced Wud calmed Futera's youngsters, and they roared back. Gael should have done better when Phu's delightful cross found him free six yards out, but he headed wide with the goal at his mercy. Bank sealed victory in the 78th minute when Wud broke from the back, finding Jew who played in the flying winger who rounded the keeper to score with ease, making the score 3-1. Futera saw out the remaining ten minutes, despite some over-physical challenges from the visitors, to claim victory and continue their unbeaten run.
Certainly not one of our best performances, but a comfortable victory nonetheless. The strength of the squad was fully utilized as late withdrawals, due to COVID and injuries, meant we were a little short on numbers. Katang deputizing at left-back had an excellent game, and Bank was outstanding. His pace will be a threat to any defense this season. A good team performance, who to a man stood up to the physical provocation of the visitors who knowing they couldn't match us for talent decided to try and kick their way to a result. An excellent start to the season with three victories on the bounce, and with the TA looming, exciting times lay ahead for Futera.